More than ever before, consumers will be inclined to buy with cash instead of credit, on purchases that were thought-out (and researched) ahead of time, and which conform to a realistic budget.
More shoppers are “planning” this year, and looking for ways to carry their “frugal but not cheap” attitudes into the holiday buying season, according to this Research Brief story that cited a study from Information Resources, Inc.
Implications: Hindsight will be the most accurate indicator as to the prosperity or frustration retailers enjoy this holiday season. But almost anyone can guess that competition for customers will be very heated… and consumers know it. It's not like shoppers are going to skip the holiday season. But get ready for an attitude that might best be described by words like judicous, discriminating, or deliberate.
My hunch is that shoppers will have asked family and friends what kind of items they want—in advance—so they can give gifts they know will be appreciated. In other words, the consumer will do their homework. So you should, too.
- What have you done to facilitate comparison shopping, or assist customers in their effort to do product research?
- What have you done to “make the list” that shopper will be carrying?
Gift recipients, on the other hand, are likely to ask for items that they may have denied themselves… as many consumers have demonstrated restraint over the past several months. So don’t be surprised if you hear the phrase, “pent-up demand” a little more often. And don’t be surprised if functional gifts take a slight advantage over more frivolous items.
- Are your products/services perceived as over-indulgent… or could they be positioned as a long-overdue reward?
- If you’ve been frustrated by slow sales for a few months, how do you get prospective owners to ask for your product (your service, your store) by name?